("rhymes with bubble") is a webcomic by Chris Mastrangelo that ran from 1997 to 2001. It featured a wide and diverse supporting cast
, as well as long and often quite convoluted storylines. The latter may seem like it would make it difficult for a new reader to get into the comic, but Fluble
cleverly avoids this by not making any sense no matter where you start reading
humor is characterized by Deconstruction
, Lampshade Hanging
, Refuge in Audacity
, and a constant stream of utter nonsense. This is very well reflected in the main cast:
- Fluble P. Marshell, the comic's eponymous hero and archetypal loser, a genetically engineered, vaguely anthropomorphic frog living in Syracuse, New York. Hopelessly unemployed. Never hesitates to come up with a Zany Scheme or Conspiracy Theory. Dies on several occasions during the comic's run.
- Balt Baltmer, an exiled alien scientist who lives with Fluble and Burble, and inexplicably tolerates their antics.
- Burble, formerly a creature of almost godlike power, now a walking tomato. Also, completely insane.
- Clown, the circus freak and local token female. Fluble's unrequited Love Interest. Loves animals, though her pets are tragically short-lived.
The supporting cast includes Fluble's imaginary gargoyle Occam, Mack The the Whale
, Death Duck
the Duck of Death
, and Zoso the World's Smartest Thing-That-Isn't-A-Mailbox
. On the opposing side, Fluble's greatest nemeses are Zangoth the Demon, Bob the Lord of Hell
, the murderous and lethally adorable Devil Bunny
, the Amish, and most importantly, the Evil Penguins
and their overlord, Number One
Provides Examples Of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Parodied in the storyline where Clown swoons over Zangoth despite the fact that the demon is clearly abusing her.
Clown: This meat tastes very interesting.
Zangoth: It's an old family recipe.
Clown: Well, just remember after dinner we have to walk my dog.
Zangoth: No, we don't.
- Art Shift: Twice. Why does the boiled lobster sing is drawn in a more stylized, Frank Miller-esque fashion that goes with the spoof Film Noir feel. Woonsocket, which is told from Burble's perspective, is in appropriately psychedelic full-color.
- Black Comedy Rape/Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Lump and Balt.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Burble.
- Crapsack World: Pretty much everyone is corrupt, uncaring, and/or grossly incompetent.
- Crazy-Prepared: How can we get to the Moon? Why, on our funk-powered space train, of course!
- Dada Comics: I will only point out that the image for this article depicts a hallucinatory gargoyle giving romantic advice to an anthropomorphic frog who is in love with a circus freak whose house is full of vikings (again).
- Deadpan Snarker: Balt, though Fluble can display some acidic wit if he wants to.
- Death Is Cheap
- Deathbringer the Adorable: Death Duck the Duck of Death.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Death Duck the Duck of Death, The Mystery of Mystery Hill
- The Devil Is a Loser: Bob, Lord of Hell
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the Killing Time storyline, Fluble literally kills the manifestation of Time, triggering the collapse of the universe. To be fair, Time had been a real Jerkass.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: The Chips of Doom.
- Eldritch Abomination: Woobie, the embodiment of wrath.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Actually happens at the end of Wrath of Woobie Part 2.
Clown: You know, I think I'm gonna miss the world.
Fluble: Eh. It was overrated.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Evil penguins.
- Evil Twin: Rubble, immediately called out for the cliché that he is.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: The original website had an article entitled "How to read Fluble", explaining that it's completely fruitless to try and find any hidden meaning in Fluble.
If one strip has, for example, an image of cannibalistic teddy bears, you may think, "Ah, so the bears are there to symbolize the anguish of modern man?" No. No, damn you.
It's there because cannibalistic teddy bears are funny
- Genre Savvy: Fluble sometimes attempts to take advantage of genre conventions, only to fail miserably.
- I Don't Pay You to Think: One standalone strip rides this for all its worth, with Clown's boss saying no less than three variations of it:
"Dammit Coinean, I don't pay you to ask relevant questions! I pay you to shred Arruda files!"
"Dammit Coinean, I don't pay you to point out my obvious stupidity! I pay you to make Arruda files!"
"Dammit Coinean, I don't pay you to shred Arruda files! I pay you to shred Arruda files!"
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Played out almost verbatim (except with a puppy instead of a kitten), when Fluble wants to prove he can be scum in order to make himself attractive.
- Killed Off for Real: Subverted twice. Less of a shock considering Fluble has died so many times he can do it at will.
- Killer Rabbit: The Devil Bunny.
- Names to Trust Immediately: Parodied with Burble's "mysterious benefactor", Vile Treacherous Bastard
- Only Sane Man:
- Usually Balt.
- Inverted in the Woonsocket storyline, which is narrated by Burble the Raving Nutjob, who repeatedly dismisses Balt's reasoning as "delirious ramblings".
- Handed over to Clown in the Why Does the Boiled Lobster Sing? storyline.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Played straight (to an extreme) several times.
- At the final showdown in the Woobie saga, Fluble's Evil Future Self disguises himself as Jacques Cousteau by putting on a red knit cap. It works.
- In Onions Of Thunder, Clown has to get out of her workplace so he asks Fluble and Burble to cover for her. When Clown's boss walks by, they both claim to be Clown (standing right next to each other). It works.
- In Do You Remember Love?, Rubble once again attempts to take Fluble's place. Burble then drags in Zangoth dressed in a frog costume and proceeds to prove that he is the real Fluble by pointing out things such as "The real Fluble has a tag marked 'Fluble costume'", or that "the real Fluble is actually not Fluble at all". It works.
- The Plan: Number One is a big fan of these.
- The Power of Love: Subverted in Do You Remember Love?. Fluble seems to be Killed Off for Real, and Clown sheds a single tear upon his lifeless body as she confesses that she loves her. Fluble immediately springs back to life...
Clown: As a friend, yeah.
Fluble: That's what I came back from the dead for? Friend-love?
- Private Eye Monologue: Parodied in Why Does The Boiled Lobster Sing.
- Rule of Funny
- Running Gag: Fluble's attempts to hold down a job; Clown's short-lived pets.
- The Smurfette Principle: Clown is the only female in the main cast. The only other woman is Lump, who appears in Momentary Lapse of Reason, and later for one scene in War of the Wigglums.
- Soft Glass: Subverted as Fluble attempts a dramatic entrance by crashing through a skylight. Ouch.
- Status Quo Is God: No matter how a storyline ends, everything is back to the way it was before.
- Take That: Fluble mercilessly ridicules every possible demographic.
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Played with in Wrath of Woobie Part 3, only to throw it in the bin at the end.
Fluble: But if you kill me, you'll never have been born!
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: A space abomination, who happens to be named Woobie, and who is bent on destroying the universe because Number One mistreated him as a child.
- Yandere: Lump.
- You Bastard: In one strip, Fluble and Burble thank the readers for their support, then call them a bunch of sick freaks.